Friday, November 12, 2010

IMATA & Taiji & Whaling ~ Oh My!!!

IMATA is the Institute of Marine Mammal Trainers Association who in a knee jerk reaction published on their FaceBook page the following statement

"The International Marine Animal Trainers Association (IMATA) takes a strong position on the Japanese drive fisheries, which are debated frequently internationally. In early 2006, IMATA issued its position, which condemns the inhumane killing of dolphins and other cetaceans in the Japanese drive fisheries."

TDAG questions the use of the wording "strong position" as upon examining the attendees at IMATA's upcoming conference are indeed a number of institutions that through their purchasing of dolphins from Taiji and Futo's drive-fisheries have been one of the biggest factors contributing to the continuance of this horrible practice most notable of those who will be attending this years IMATA conference in Boston are employees of the following

  1. Suma Aqualife Park In Kobe, Japan: This aquarium bought dolphins from Taiji this year and was observed doing so by witnesses (
  2. Enoshima Aquarium Marineland: Has dolphins from Taiji's drive hunts as well as Futo as if that wasn't enough Enoshima also has had and lost Orcas caught in the wild off Iceland
  3. Awashima Marine Park: Has purchased dolphins from the notorious Futo dolphin drive hunts
An organizational member of IMATA is the Shimonoseki Marine Science Museum who are situated in the home port of the Japanese Antarctic Whaling Fleet.  Note the word Science in the Museum's name and then consider that each year out of Shimonoseki's port sails the "Scientific"Whaling Fleet and tell me what you deduce? Great partner you chose there IMATA!

If you truly stood against the drive, you would not be hosting these institutions.Obtaining dolphins from locations using dolphin drives DIRECTLY funds and supports the mass slaughter of Dolphins. The market for dolphin meat is small, so the drive fishery could not survive financially if it were not for the live capture and trade of dolphins. As recently as October, the SumaAquatic Park received Dolphins from the 2010 Taiji Dolphin hunts. As the public becomes more aware and informed of the dolphin drive practices, the fisherman, aquatic facilities and associations who have helped to support the slaughter or turned a blind eye to the fisherman’s actions will be held equally responsible.Your statement against the dolphin fishery drive will only be words on a page unless you take serious action against your member organizations that take live dolphins from the wild.

Footnote : IMATA's Code of Ethics

As members of IMATA, each of us is committed to:
I.    Exercising the highest levels of respect and humaneness for all animals;

II.   Exercising professional integrity in representing ourselves as members of the marine animal community, as representatives of the facilities we serve, or as members of this Association;

III.  Fostering respect, understanding, and cooperation among fellow members and others associated with the zoological community in general and the marine animal community in particular; and

IV.  Contributing to the promotion of public and professional interest in IMATA and accepting the obligations of membership as required to the best of our abilities.

Contact IMATA

International Marine Animal Trainers' Association
1200 South Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60605-2490
Phone: (312) 692-3193
Fax: (312) 939-2216

1 comment:

  1. I emailed them and this was the response I received:
    Thank you for your email.

    The New England Aquarium will host the International Marine Animal Trainers’ Association (IMATA) in early December 2010. The Aquarium has a long history of convening professionals to better protect the oceans. IMATA is the premier organization worldwide serving individuals who have dedicated their lives to working with marine mammals.

    In regards to your recent correspondence, it is important to note that IMATA issued a statement in 2006 condemning drive fisheries of dolphins in Japan. It can be found at the bottom of this page on their site:

    Please direct any further concerns regarding the conference directly to IMATA at

    Emily Bauernfeind
    New England Aquarium
    Marketing and Communications